In baseball, a bat flip is the exaggerated throwing of a baseball bat after making contact with the baseball during an at bat, typically after a home run. This is in contrast to the usual practice of gently dropping the bat as the batter begins running to first base.
Asia and Latin America
Bat flipping is popular in Asian and Latin American baseball leagues. In South Korea, the bat flipping tradition dates back to the 1990s, and has become increasingly frequent in the Korea Baseball Organization. In the Korean language, bat flips are referred as ppa-dun (Korean: 빠던), a portmanteau of the "first syllables of the words for 'bat' and 'throw'". The practice is also common in Japan and Taiwan, and the respective professional leagues Nippon Professional Baseball and Chinese Professional Baseball League.
United States and Canada
In the United States, bat flips have traditionally been considered rude and inconsistent with baseball etiquette. Traditional etiquette and the unwritten rules of baseball espouse humility and discourage actions which may be interpreted as arrogant or showing up the opponents.
Torii Hunter, a retired Major League Baseball player and fan of bat flips in Korean baseball, has stated that a player throwing a bat in such a manner during a game in the United States would likely face retaliation in a subsequent at bat, such as being hit by a pitch.
José Bautista bat flip
During the rubber match of the 2015 American League Division Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers at the Blue Jays' home stadium of the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Blue Jays right fielder José Bautista executed what Andrew Keh of The New York Times described as possibly "the most ostentatious bat flip in M.L.B. history" after hitting a go-ahead, three-run home run off Rangers relief pitcher Sam Dyson. Bautista wrote an article about the bat flip published in November 2015 in The Players' Tribune. He said he "didn’t plan it. It just happened", and that he was "caught up in the emotion of the moment" when he flipped the bat. Bautista was criticized for the bat flip, which he attributed to a failure to understand differences in cultural backgrounds of players.
Members of the Rangers objected to the bat flip, with Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland stating he did not object to a home run celebration, "but the way he did it". After the home run, Dyson approached Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnación, the next batter in the batting order, and "told him that Jose needs to calm that down, respect the game more". During the post-game press conference, manager Jeff Banister stated that "we respect everybody", which the media interpreted as a strong suggestion of disapproval of Bautista's actions.
The Bautista bat flip became an internet meme. Fans posted numerous responses to the event on Twitter, and shared videos on Vine and other social media websites and mobile apps. It was etched onto Jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween, printed on T-shirts and Christmas sweaters, and was also the subject of a thigh tattoo for an Oshawa, Ontario man. It was also commemorated on a Topps 2016 Series 1 baseball card. A corn field in the Canadian province of New Brunswick was designed with the likeness of the Bautista bat flip.
However, Bautista's bat flip may be the impetus of the Jays–Rangers brawl on May 15, 2016 in the Rangers' home stadium of Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, in which Rangers relief pitcher Matt Bush intentionally threw a pitch at Bautista, Bautista made an illegal slide to second base, and Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor punched Bautista in the face, thereby igniting the brawl. Bautista was suspended for one game for the incident, while Odor was suspended for eight.
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- Kimes, Mina (October 4, 2016). "The Art of Letting Go: The great Korean bat flip mystery". ESPN.com. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Keh, Andrew (September 2, 2015). "Bat flipping draws shrugs in South Korea but scorn in America". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- Turbow, Jason (October 15, 2015). "On the benefits of embracing the moment, or: Not all bat flips are created equal". The Baseball Codes. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- Hernandez, Dylan (April 14, 2015). "Dodgers' Yasiel Puig wants to cut down on bat flips". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Bautista, José (November 9, 2015). "Are you flipping kidding me?". The Players' Tribune staff. The Players' Tribune. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Jose Bautista says bat flip flap down to 'gap' between Dominican and North American players". CBC News. November 12, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Derek Holland not a fan of Jose Bautista on the field, and 'personally, I don't like him, either". The Dallas Morning News. October 20, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
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- Clair, Michael (October 18, 2015). "Jose Bautista's bat flip is now Halloween-ready as a jack-o'-lantern". Cut4 (Major League Baseball). Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Scare Rangers fans at Halloween with new Jose Bautista bat flip T-shirt". The Dallas Morning News. October 15, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Singh, David (25 November 2015). "Joey to the World: Bautista's bat-flip gets Christmas sweater". Sportsnet. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Kestler-D’Amours, Jillian (October 16, 2015). "Toronto tattoo artist immortalizes Jose Bautista bat flip". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Szekely, Reka (October 23, 2015). "Oshawa man has no regrets about Jose Bautista bat flip tattoo". Oshawa This Week. Metroland Media Group. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Jose Bautista's bat flip commemorated on Topps baseball card". CBC News. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Monagan, Matt (August 31, 2016). "The Joey Bats Bat Flip has now been memorialized in a Canadian cornfield". MLB. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
- Newport, Kyle (July 29, 2016). "Jose Bautista's Legendary Bat Flip Added to 'NHL 17' as Goal Celebration". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
- Chisholm, Gregor (May 15, 2016). "Tension boils over in Blue Jays-Rangers game". MLB. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- Hagen, Paul (May 18, 2016). "Odor, Bautista among 14 disciplined for brawl". MLB.com. Retrieved May 27, 2016.